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Collectivity and Agency in Remembering and Reconciliation

Keywords: agency , veterans , remembering

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This paper examines how British war veterans fold together war time and post war experiences in practices of remembering and reconciliation. We examine these practices as networks of association between British ex-servicemen (veterans) and the people, places and circumstances associated with their experiences as prisoners in Japan during WW2. We focus on the experience of World War 2 British ex-servicemen (veterans) who were prisoners of war in Far East. During their period of captivity they worked to build Thai-Burma Railway before transfer to a copper mine in Japan. Some 50 years later they participated in a "reconciliation trip" to Japan. We discuss two related issues. First, how and in what ways are the post war lives and war time experiences of these veterans gathered up in the emergent collectivity of such practices? In other words in what ways do these practices emerge and sustain themselves as a process of collection and dispersion of circulating reference in networks of association between people places and things. Second, we examine how accounts of redemption (claims to the consequences of experience as being other than you would expect them to be) create the basis for emergent forms of agency and settlement in expanding networks of remembering and reconciliation.


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